Dylann Roof Found Guilty on All Counts for Charleston Church Slayings
Dylann Roof, a white supremacist who shot nine parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., was found guilty on all 33 federal charges, including federal hate crimes and obstruction of religion, on Thursday (Dec. 15).
According to the Associated Press, a 12-member jury of eight white women, one white man, two black women and a black man, deliberated for two hours following a week-long trial. In his closing arguments, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams described Roof as a calculated killer who targeted the church because the setting posed no danger to him.
"It was a cold, calculated hatred that had been developing for months... that had been seeking out the most vulnerable people to target," said Williams. "When they stood to pray, when they had their eyes closed, in those actions we see exactly who this defendant is.”
Defense lawyer David Bruck acknowledged that Roof committed the killings, but he also called him a suicidal loner and asked jurors to look into his mental state that caused him to become so full of hatred.
Jurors will reconvene on Jan. 3 to decide whether Roof gets the death penalty or life in prison. Roof told the judge again Thursday that he wanted to act as his own attorney during the penalty phase.
Following the jury's verdict, there were plenty of reactions on Twitter.
"Dylann Roof was an easy case for conviction. We need a justice system that can also convict a George Zimmerman or a rogue police officer," wrote one person. Another user tweeted, "Dylann Roof being found guilty is one of the best things to happen this year and hopefully his death will be one of the best parts of 2017."
Read more reactions from people below.